Summerlee - The Museum of Scottish Industrial Life

Back to attractions kids having fun at Summerlee Busy tram at Summerlee Museum, Coatbridge

  Summerlee is set in 22 acres based around the site of the nineteenth century Summerlee Ironworks.

The museum has many attractions for all the family, including Scotland's only operational heritage tramway and recreated mine, with guided toursminers' cottages, a great all-ages playpark and lots lots more.

Admission is free.

The great facilities at Summerlee include:

Superb all-weather exhibition hall with working machinery

Electric tramway with heritage trams

Underground mine (Guided tours) and miners' cottages from 1840 to 1980

Great playpark for tots to teens

Caféshop and toilets with baby-changing facility.

Free parking

A Brief History of Summerlee

Summerlee was formerly one of Scotland's most important ironworks and the remains of its blast furnaces and other structures can be seen from the view pod and parapet at the north-east side of the main exhibition hall.

Opened in 1836, it used the newly discovered 'hot blast' process. This was a process, patented by James Beaumont Neilson (the younger brother of Summerlee's founder John Neilson), that blew the hot gases of the production process through the furnaces. This resulted in much more iron being produced for the same amount of coal.

This made the smelting process much more efficient and led to Coatbridge becoming known as the 'Iron Burgh' of Scotland by the 1850s. However, the rise of the steel industry in the later part of the 19th Century saw iron's decline.

Although heavy industry continued in Coatbridge for many years, strikes and economic depression in the 1920s saw Summerlee's furnaces go out for the last time in 1926. In the late 1930s, the site was demolished and the remains of the ironworks were covered over.

Post-war, light engineering companies operated on the site, the last being the Hydrocon Crane Company, whose engineering shed forms today's main exhibition hall - complete with overhead cranes.

The museum you see today was initially opened in 1987 and many attractions such as the tramway, mine, miners' cottages and playpark have been added since.

The latest change has been to the main exhibition hall, now totally redeveloped thanks to a major Heritage Lottery Fund supported project. 

After your visit to Summerlee, there's plenty more to see and do in the area.  You can walk or cycle along the North Calder Heritage Trail, which starts at Summerlee. Or, for a shorter route, there is the Summerlee to Drumpellier walk and cycleway. 

The Time Capsule has recently reopened after a multi-million pound overhaul and is a great place to let the kids let off steam with its water chutes and flumes.  Drumpellier Country Park is just to the west of Coatbridge town centre and has many walks plus a visitor centre and cafe.


Heritage Way

View Summerlee -  The Museum of Scottish Industrial Life on a Map

Contact and Booking

Telephone: 01236 638460
Fax:01236 638454

Web: Summerlee - The Museum of Scottish Industrial Life

Grading and Awards
LTA Members New Logo4 Star Visitor Attraction
Baby Changing
Disabled Parking
Dates and Times

Open all year 10am to 5pm (4pm Nov - April) Closed Dec 25 & 26 and Jan 1 & 2.


Santa at Summerlee 2014Santa's Workshop and Grotto at Summerlee MuseumSeasonal fun in the run-up to Christmas
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